One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as a Biblical Allusion 11th Grade

Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest features many allusions and references to Christian religion. Most obvious is McMurphy's martyrdom at the novel's climax. But this incident is foreshadowed throughout the novel with a series of direct references to events recounted in the New Testament. In Kesey’s novel, life is polarized in the ward between pain and laughter, much like the Christian faith teaches that life is either sin or salvation. Kesey alluding to many biblical stories through one of the main characters, McMurphy, by showing his strength and spirit, references to his disciples and sacrifice, and how his followers carry on his legacy.

As the Christian faith preaches that all humans are sinners capable of salvation, McMurphy instructs his disciples that life's miseries are redeemed through laughter, which is depicted as the ultimate rebellion. When McMurphy is first introduced, his actions and attitude do not at first seem to show any signs of Christianity, in that he emphasizes gambling, womanizing, and drinking over spirituality. However, later on, some of his messianic qualities are more apparent after his initial entrance into the ward. His laughter, which represents his spirit, is contrasted with the snickers...

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